Considering the strong connection between the military and Major League Baseball (MLB) at MLB All-Star Week, it was only appropriate that former American Legion Baseball players took center stage in Washington, D.C.
New Mexico Legion alum Alex Bregman, who won the 2017 World Baseball Classic with Team USA and the 2017 World Series with the Astros, made his first appearance in the All-Star Game and made an impact, hitting a tiebreaking home run in the 10th inning on his way to earning the All-Star Game’s Most Valuable Player award.
The third baseman helped hand an 8-6 extra-inning victory to the American League and the team’s manager AJ Hinch, who played Legion Baseball for Midwest City Post 170 in Oklahoma.
Two other former American Legion players, both from the hometown Washington Nationals, also headlined the event.
For the second straight year, Max Scherzer, formerly of Legion Baseball Creve Coeur Post 397 in Missouri, got the start on the mound for the National League. The right-hander led all pitchers with four strikeouts in the contest.
Fan-favorite Bryce Harper, who played Legion Baseball out of his hometown of Las Vegas, won a thrilling Home Run Derby in walk-off fashion to the enjoyment of his team’s supporters in attendance. The record-setting event featured 221 home runs, including six from Harper in the final 29 seconds of the final round. Harper defeated seven foes, including Bregman, who just came a few feet short of a tying homer in his first matchup.
This is Harper's sixth All-Star selection and fifth start in just seven MLB seasons.
Jacob deGrom of Florida and Brad Hand of Minnesota both got work out of the National League bullpen, while Justin Verlander of Virginia and Craig Kimbrel of Alabama were both selected to the American League team.
Former Midwest City (Okla.) Post 170 Legion Baseball players JT Realmuto and Matt Kemp were also All-Stars. Realmuto was the 2010 American Legion Baseball Mid-South Regional Most Valuable Player.
Also included in the week’s festivities was the Futures Game, which was played on July 15 prior to the All-Star Game to showcase upcoming talent.
Two pitchers, Yankee prospect Justus Sheffield of Legion Baseball Tullahoma Post 43 in Tennessee, and Brave prospect Kyle Wright of Huntsville, Ala., represented Legion Baseball at that event.
At the celebrity softball event, Hall of Famer Tim Raines, who played Legion Baseball for Sanford Post 53 in Florida, was one of the event’s headliners.